Document Type



Law and Philosophy


H. L. A. Hart’s well known attempt to show that a legal system need not satisfy moral standards to be such, and thereby to disprove the alleged thesis of natural lawyers that a wicked law is no law at all, apparently assumes the fact-value dichotomy in its most radical formulation. As part of his project, Hart advanced a putatively value-neutral analysis of legal obligation that holds distinct attraction even for those who question Hart’s broader project. My paper argues that a less extreme view of the fact-value dichotomy would have excused Hart from defending his view of legal obligation in its most ambitious form, and that the resulting, less radical view of legal obligation is not only plausible but also compatible with non-positivist views of law.